How to Make Money from Your Used Belongings

Do you have too much accumulated “stuff” and not enough space? Culturally, we tend to add to our households more than we subtract, but thanks to the rise of the second-hand economy, there are ways to profit from selling your excess items.

At Ideas that Spark, we’re dedicated to helping our readers discover smart living ideas and household tips and tricks to make home life easier, and we think the following guide fits the bill. Read on for important tips for turning extra stuff into spending money.


Why Bother with the Second-Hand Economy?

Contrary to how it might seem, selling your used goods means more than making a buck or two. The second-hand economy is thriving, and venues abound.

You can sell virtually anything online, in person via consignment shops, yard sales, flea markets, or through bartering goods or services. It’s an opportunity to make money from the things otherwise taking up space or with talents going to waste.


Do Some Editing

The best place to start in your new enterprise is compiling the things you own that still have life in them but are no longer part of your lifestyle. Collect clothing you don’t wear, music you no longer listen to, movies you don’t watch, books you don’t read, tools you don’t use, and so on.

Many people are pleased to find that their cup is overflowing, but you might also discover an abundance of items ready for the garbage bin.

If you have a substantial amount of broken and weary belongings, renting a dumpster or hiring a junk removal service is often the best bet. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and you should consider how quickly you think you can tackle your project and what sort of items are involved.

A dumpster is a great option if you want to fill it piecemeal. However, if you have unwieldy items, hiring someone to manage it all on your behalf could be a better option.


Sorting Your Stuff

Categorizing your resale items can be a good next step in your process. For instance, you can gather vintage gadgetry into one pile, used baby items into another, pull together household decor items, and so on.

Think about the different venues available for these items and where your goods might be most desirable. For instance, Good Housekeeping notes that online auction sites such as eBay are well-suited to things like fitness gear, collectibles, and garden furniture.

However, your handmade crafts, artwork, and specialty food items are likely to be unsuccessful in auctions and are better suited to boutique-style selling sites like Etsy. Another idea is to find local and online consignment shops that specialize in certain things, such as designer handbags, children’s items, or furniture.


Prepping to Sell

Just as with a commercial retailer, how you present your goods can influence how much buyers are willing to pay for them. Start by sprucing things up. If something is in need of a minor repair or cleansing, do so before putting it up for sale.

If you’re selling things online, make sure you take quality photographs that show your items off clearly and effectively, and write ads that fully explain your items with sizing and other pertinent information.

Price your items competitively by making comparisons with other sellers, examine what recently sold, and what the ads looked like that achieved the highest prices.

Since you’re doing such a good job, expect your items to sell quickly and start assembling packaging material. You can collect some used boxes and cushioning material, or if you’re planning on a significant amount, you might need to purchase shipping supplies.


Safely Receiving Payment

Many people are concerned about the safety of some forms of e-commerce. If you’re selling something and must exchange goods in person, consider meeting in a place where you won’t be vulnerable, such as a public location, and bring a friend with you. For online sales, several safe payment options have developed in recent years, such as PayPal and Clover.


Make Sure You’re Legal

If you intend to make a business out of the second-hand economy, then you need to think about registering your business with the state. Many business owners opt to register as an LLC, which provides them with tax advantages and limited personal liability, the latter of which is important in case something happens to your business.

Filing all of this paperwork and making sure you’re in compliance with the state can seem intimidating and overwhelming, but there are business formation services that can help make this process easier and more affordable.

Thanks to the second-hand economy, an excess of belongings is a good problem to have. You can find a venue to sell nearly anything, so do some sorting and decide what platform is best for you.

Opportunities abound, and with a little planning and preparation, you can make money from your used things.

For more great ideas on how to make your home life shine, keep up with the Ideas that Spark blog!